Ratings agencies unfazed as county pension costs rise
Despite dire warnings that future pension costs could cause a fiscal meltdown for tri-county governments, credit ratings for Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo county bonds remain mostly unaffected by looming gaps in their retirement obligation funding.
Standard & Poor’s, a leading rating agency, ranks all three counties near the top of a scale that spans from its highest AAA to C, the lowest rating a bond can have without defaulting. Santa Barbara County carries the agency’s second highest AA-plus designation. Ventura County is assigned a slightly lower AA-rating this year and SLO County is ranked AA-minus.